Bow Blind Setup

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Africa' started by KCSafari, May 18, 2017.

  1. KCSafari

    KCSafari AH Member

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    Wanted to get some input from everyone who has bow hunted Africa before. I want to build 3 blinds on my farm and would appreciate any advice about what made a blind good or bad? I am leaning towards a ground blind(halfway into the ground). What diameter do you think would work, how many windows(shapes also). I have been in a few blind that werent very good. Any advice would be appreciated?

    Thanks
     
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  2. kathy

    kathy AH Fanatic

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    I like the ground blinds, half in the ground , vertical shooting hole in center facing water hole 20 yards or less, small look out slots on each side , at least 8X8 size of blind. sand floors. Face towards predominate wind. but you also have to have a blind or 2 if the wind shifts . Forresst
     
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  3. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    I also like a small video port and the interior painted black and a door in the rear that shuts tight so as not to let light in
     
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  4. KCSafari

    KCSafari AH Member

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    Some good information. Thanks for the input. Did not think of the sand floors or painting the inside black.
     

  5. petrusg

    petrusg AH Elite

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    Ground blinds are great, position about 20m from water hole or feeding spot. i would suggest making it at least 2.5 m high about 2 m wide and 3 m long. you can play around with this a bit but these measurements work well with the blinds i have built. Shooting hole facing the primary target zone with a camera hole 200-250mm X 800mm. you could add more shooting holes in the side of the blind but this is all up to you.
     
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  6. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    @KCSafari

    I think i could write a book about what I do and don't like in a bow blind. I"ve seen everything from blinds made of tile with built in urinals to a blind with a bed (full sheets, pillows and comforters) so the hunter could sleep while the PH watched guard. I"ve also sat in a blind in Botswana that was little more than a blue/green tarp covering a chain link fence bent in the shape of a huge U. "PH" didn't even cut out any shooting windows....he had no idea what to do. But from all that, i do think I have a good grip on what I myself like in a blind. Here we go:

    1. The blinds dug in a couple of feet offer a great shot angle on the animals. ON top of that, they seem to be a bit cooler, especially as the temps get higher into October.

    2. Flooring - concrete, heavy sand and carpet seem to the be most popular options. Sand is fine and concrete is cool but can be a bit loud. My favorite is a nice carpet/rug as the floor. The hunters then remove shoes/boots prior to getting settled. Keeps the carpet clean and QUIET. Really amazing how much movement you can do on soft carpet.

    3. Windows and shooting windows: Yes, there should be windows for seeing things and windows for shooting things. I vote for a few windows facing the primary watersource at about 22 yards. These windows would be vertical and long enough that a hunter could shoot sitting or standing. I really like the one way mirror for these windows that can be slid down or open when it is time to shoot. I would also have the "seeing windows" setup up with the one way mirror glass but i would run them horizontal in front of the blind as a means to really look around. That way the shooting windows would really be used just for the shot. In addition, I would suggest one or two camera port windows. Small holes in the wall just big enough to accommodate a lens. MAKE SURE a wide variety of hunters (tall, short, wide, thin) can shoot out the window! Sounds silly but i'm 5ft 9" and there was one blind where i had to stand on a bag to shoot or go back to the back bench at the rear of the hide and shoot from there. One small side viewing window for each of the other three sides so animals can be spotted early before they are out in front of the blind.

    4. Chairs - Soft and quiet chairs. No metal creaking or materials that are loud with any friction (your butt scooting). A bucket is easy and quiet. A folding camp chair can work if it's not squeaky. Obviously, the chairs should be of a height where you can easily see out the viewing windows while seated. A bench built into the structure can work well sometime too.

    5. Roomy enough for three people. Lay the blind out so your archer will have plenty of room to draw back and pick different angles. Then find a place for the PH to sit so he/she can see out of the windows. Finally, a spot for a friend or cameraman is always welcome. Time can pass slow in the blind and having another in the blind can be fun.

    6. Materials - Rock and dirt are great. Cement to bind it all together is great. Metal corrugated roofs get damn hot in October. Thatch is nice for the roof but it does carry the real worry of snakes dropping in on you. A black mamba dropped out of the ceiling of a blind i was hunting from in Botswana. PH shot it with a 416 INSIDE the blind and it sounded like a bomb went off. We still finished the day with a great Eland bull. ON the topic of materials, the urinal was actually a really simple little funnel that was ported through the wall and out into the sand at the base of the hide. Pretty nifty actually and it didn't smell bad at all like I was worried.

    7. Entrance/exit door = Try and keep this door as air tight as possible. Not only for scent control, but lots of guys get busted looking through the crack of the door and getting picked off by approaching animals. Animals can see shadows move and general movement inside the blind.

    8. SETUP - Make sure the watersource/salt/lucerne is placed in a manner that compliments the blind. Obviously the hunter wants a broadside or quartering away presentation. SO DON'T MAKE A BIG CIRCLE POND. Make a long rectangular tank with or even an odd shaped thing that allows brush to be manipulated on one side so the animals naturally drink from the "correct" side.

    Extras: A few little things that would make a nice blind really cool:
    a. bow hook from the ceiling. This way the bow can hang by the hunter with an arrow on and ready. No more leaning it against the blind stuff.
    b. cooler box with snacks that are wrapped in paper towers. No noisy candy wrappers are needed here.
    c. The Perfect shot book (for newbies) Get the small travel version to show the guy in the blind where to aim.
    d. A kindle to read or cell phone to play games on. I prefer a Wilbur Smith book but to each his own.
    e. Radio to call the bakkie when done with the hunt or when a change needs to be made.

    More to come as i think of them!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2017
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  7. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Fanatic

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    I personally prefer elevated blinds... that way I can see more and be entertained by what I can see out there. Don't sleep or encourage others to sleep in the blind! Sleep when you're dead! Take lots of pictures with a good camera and lens.

    Either way, make sure your blind is dark inside and that there's no 'back light'. Don't poke things out the shooting holes that animals can see... especially baboons and monkeys.
    Have a plan for taking a piss. Preferably something like a 2L bottle that has a sealing top.
    Have well padded sturdy benches that don't make any noise at all.
    Carpeted floors are great. Leave shoes by the doorway... don't tramp thorns and debris into the blind floor.
    Tom has it right!!
     

  8. Lee M

    Lee M AH Fanatic

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    Well said Tom. Very good detail!
     

  9. wapiti

    wapiti AH Senior Member

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    Make sure the blind can accommodate recurve and long bows.
     
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  10. BigJohnx13

    BigJohnx13 AH Veteran

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    Found this in my archive

    2.1.b HUNTING FROM A GROUND BLIND. The next most popular ambush-style hunting tactic is using a ground blind. Ground blinds can be an excellent tactical option for concealing yourself and blending into the natural environment.

    Types of ground blinds. A ground blind is any natural feature or man-made product that you use to conceal your body while hunting. A wide range of objects can be used as ground blinds, but there are three basic types:
    * Existing. An existing ground blind could be a natural feature like a bush, a downed log, or a boulder. It could be a manmade item like an old abandoned car. The advantage of existing blinds is they don't require any effort. However, the disadvantage is they're not moveable so they have to already be in a good location.
    * Constructed. A constructed ground blind is one that you make yourself, usually out of natural vegetation. By weaving together a bunch of sticks and branches, you can create a fairly effective blind. The advantage here is that you can choose where to construct it. The disadvantage, as with the existing blind, is that you can't move it.
    * Pop-Up. A pop-up ground blind is a commercially manufactured product that looks like a tent, is made of lightweight poles and fabric, and can be set up and broken down quickly. The main advantage of a pop-up blind is that, unlike existing and constructed blinds, it is mobile. Their only real disadvantage is that they cost money.

    Benefits of ground blinds. While there is certainly a time and place for existing and constructed ground blinds, the most flexible, effective and versatile ground blind available to you is a pop up ground blind. In addition, pop-up blinds can allow more than one hunter to easily hunt together from the same spot. Benefits of pop-up ground blinds are:
    * Hide your body. Pop-up blinds erase the outline of your human form, making it harder for animals to identify your presence through sight.
    * Conceal your movement. Pop-up blinds reduce the chance that you'll spook animals when making small movements, allowing you more freedom when handling your gear and moving around.
    * Contain your scent. Pop-up blinds reduce the amount of human scent that escapes into your surrounding environment. You still have to be in good wind position.
    * Minimize sound. Pop-up blinds are a great way to reduce the amount of sound you broadcast. You still have to remain very quiet, but the blind gives you a higher margin for error.
    * Shield you from the elements. Pop-up blinds make hunting in the rain, wind, and cold much more bearable, which can enable you to hunt longer hours in adverse conditions. It doesn't work well in hot weather because they heat up too much.
    * Protect you from bugs. If you're hunting in an area infested with mosquitoes or other pesky insects, a pop-up blind can screen you from these annoying critters and greatly extend the amount of time you can hunt comfortably.

    Where ground blinds excel. Like any hunting tactic, using a pop-up ground blind is not going to be the best choice for all situations. Pop-up blinds can be one of your best options in:
    * Flat areas like prairies
    * Regions with few or no trees
    * Agricultural fields after crops are harvested
    * Open river valleys
    * Creek bottoms
    * Grassy fields
    * Cattail swamps
    * Clear cuts
    * Waterholes

    Any hunter could achieve success by using use a pop-up ground blind in the right setting. However, there are three types of hunters that pop-up blinds are particularly perfect for:
    * Bowhunters. Because bowhunters have the added challenge of drawing a bow before being able to shoot, pop-up blinds can work wonders for them by concealing the movement of the draw at close range.
    * Young hunters. One of the biggest challenges for young hunters is sitting still for long periods of time. Pop-up blinds are nice because they allow kids a little more freedom of movement, increasing their chances of success as well as the chance they'll have an enjoyable experience.
    * Beginning hunter. Pop-up blinds are more forgiving and offer a greater margin of error when it comes to concealing your scent, sight, and sound.

    Setting up your ground blind. There are some points you need to consider when planning your setup. The first question is: where specifically in your hunting area should you set up your blind? Your scouting should have already given you a good idea of the travel routes of the animals and the wind patterns in the area, so you'll want to take those into consideration first and foremost. If you're hunting with a rifle, muzzleloader, or shotgun, you have a good amount of range to work with, so pick a location where you can see in multiple directions for distances up to and beyond the range of your weapon. One way to achieve this is to go high. Try setting up on hilltops, ridges, or anywhere you can get the best vantage point. Try to set up in or close to thicker brush, this will break up the outline of your blind and prevent sky-lining.

    If you're bowhunting, you'll have to plan on getting a lot closer because of the more limited range of your bow. Good ambush spots for bowhunting from a pop-up ground blind include funnels, saddles, fingers, and benches. Try going low by setting up your blind in a dip or depression so it is naturally obscured by the topography. It's a balancing act between setting up your blind close enough to the animal trail so you can be within comfortable shooting range, but not so close that you risk spooking the animal.

    The next question is: when should you set up your blind? One principle that's universally agreed on here is, the need to set up your blind in advance of hunting so the animal have time to get used to its presence and catalogue it as non-threatening. You should set it up at least three days before you plan to hunt, but it's a whole lot safer if you set it up one to two weeks early.

    Ground blind hunting tips. Key points to keep in mind when setting up your ground blind for hunting:
    * Choose a camo pattern that blends in well with the terrain and vegetation in which you'll be hunting.
    * Practice setting up the blind in your back yard before you set it up in the field so you're familiar with how it works.
    * Practice shooting from the blind, before you're go out to hunt in it. Make sure you practice shooting from many different angles and positions so you're ready for lots of different shooting situations.
    * If the blind is brand new, set it up outside and let it air out for a few days to get rid of that new blind smell.
    * When you set up the blind in the field, attach large amounts of natural vegetation, artificial vegetation, or camo netting to the outside to further break up its outline. Be sure to cover the top, bottom, sides, and corners.
    * If you're setting up in thicker cover, clear multiple shooting lanes around the blind so you don't end up staring at an animal you can't confidently shoot.
    * Set up in a place where you can have a wide field of view. You won't be able to see as well as you would from a treestand, so you'll want to have the widest view possible.
    * Use a rangefinder. When viewing the world from inside a ground blind, it's all too easy to perceive an animal as being farther away than it actually is.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017

  11. mrpoindexter

    mrpoindexter AH Fanatic

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    A couple of things I would like to add that would be ideal:

    1. TWO bow hooks. You may have more than one bow or more than one bow hunter. Position the hooks so that a hanging bow does not obstruct the shooting window or viewing window. This will allow shooting without moving a bow not being used to create space for the shooter. It also gives a single shooter more locations to place the bow for ease of access. The left handed shooter and right handed shooter would put their "ideal" place to grab their bow in different locations even for the same shooting window...

    2. Painted black or other dark color inside is a major plus. On the wall of the shooing window, take printouts of the ghost view of animals in the area and tape them to the wall as a simple refresher. Nothing worse than putting the pin on the right spot and then making a mistake and moving it to the wrong spot and releasing because of confusion in the moment and not being able to ask without spooking the animal.

    3. If you plan on sitting for a LONG time in the blind, seating that allows one to recline and still see the viewing window is a huge plus.

    4. Set the salt lick enough distance away from the water to spread the herd if you have larger herds that come in rather than single or small groups of animals.

    5. Keep a roll of thin blind material that you can shoot through. This can then be used to cover the shooting window for additional concealment. This is great if your shooter is like super white and basically a beacon of reflectivity. It will also help if you have the sun shining directly into your window. Finally, it will really help keep things a tiny bit warmer if it is really cold, or help keep bugs/mosquitos out if you are in bug country.

    6. Try to find locations either to the back side of where you would be shooting animals or perhaps 45', 90' or 135' offset from that for GoPro cameras to capture the shot from different angles. Keep in mind the sun location and don't have the cameras shooting with the sun in their face - it will give bad lens flares on the images and the animals end up looking silhouetted and you lose a lot of details.

    7. Make sure it can be closed up tight when not in use or leave some brooms, etc, to clean up all the lizard, bird and mouse droppings that will be there when used for the first time in a long while so that you or your clients/friends are not choking on the stench.

    8. Make sure there are windows to see the areas where animals may approach even if there is not a shooting lane there. This can possibly let you know what is coming in prior to seeing it in the shooting window. That is great if you want to brush up on anatomy, trophy assessment, or just tell your friend "I already have one of these, you take it". Really, when there is no animal to look at, it really can get boring and the more windows you can look out of, the more you can see.

    9. Make sure each window has a "curtain" you can use to cover it if you need to make it darker, but any "window" should have glass and either be mirrored or tinted. If possible, having them slide open enough to stick a camera lens through them would be great.

    10. Leave some cleaner there to clean the windows because they will be dirty when you get there after a while and the camera footage won't look so good.
     

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